+10 if you get my stupid pun in the title. The 22-42 New Orleans Hornets — soon to be the New Orleans Pelicans — are in Brooklyn tonight, taking on the 37-27 Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center at 7:30 P.M. The Hornets are best known for having Anthony Davis, and the Nets beat them in New Orleans 101-97 two weeks ago behind a 33-point, 8-assist Deron Williams performance.
Joining me today to give us an idea of just what’s going on with the Hornets is Joe Gerrity of Hornets 24/7, ESPN TrueHoop Affiliate site dedicated to New Orleans Hornets coverage. Joe knows this team better than almost anyone, and definitely better than Hornets coach Monty Williams.
Don’t forget: The BK Game Streak is up. Make your picks above now or suffer the consequences of not being cool.
Devin: The Hornets have this year’s #1 overall pick, Anthony Davis. How has he progressed throughout the season, and is he being utilized well by coach Monty Williams?
Joe Gerrity, Hornets 24/7: He’s a thrill to watch, but I felt that way after my first time seeing him in Vegas, so I’m not sure that Monty Williams can really take any credit. I wouldn’t say Davis has grown leaps and bounds since the beginning of the season, but he’s making better rotations on defense and getting more used to playing against NBA-sized opponents. He’s also settling more into the offense and learning to make NBA-level cuts. His teammates are getting more comfortable delivering to him near the basket, even if he’s not entirely what you or I would describe as “open.”
He’s already become a player capable of turning, catching and shooting in transition, oftentimes before his defender has any real chance of reacting. On Hornets247 we just talked about how Monty is utilizing Davis and Ryan Anderson (not enough), but overall he’s done a decent enough job.
Devin: The Hornets have two players with intimate connections to Brook Lopez in their starting lineup — Brook’s once-best friend with the New Jersey Nets Ryan Anderson is their leading scorer, and twin brother Robin is the starting center. How has that frontcourt fared for the Hornets, and do you see it as a long-term solution?
Gerrity: The Lopez-Anderson frontcourt has played 784 minutes together, and they’re just about on par with the team as a whole (-3.6 pts/48 vs -3.5 pts/48). They’ve both been a treat to watch at times, but the overall impact of their play together hasn’t been anything to write home about. Neither is a good passer, and that hurts an already-stagnant offense. The Pelicans expect Anthony Davis and Ryan Anderson to be their front court of the future. The problem now, of course, is that Anthony Davis just turned 20; his body, while extremely long, isn’t quite wide enough to handle larger NBA centers. That won’t be the case forever.
It won’t surprise me if Lopez is dealt this summer for a piece or two with Jason Smith remaining on the roster as the third big. He’s a nice player, but I don’t think he really fits on Monty’s ideal team.
Devin: Robin Lopez doesn’t fit!? Andray Blatche is going to command a contract the Nets can’t afford next summer and they’ll have an opening at backup center!? This could not be any more perfect. Please, Billy King. Make this happen. Please, please, please. #ReuniteTheTwins
Focus, Devin. What’s up with Eric Gordon?
Gerrity: Tough question, even if it seems easy. I asked my followers on Twitter a few days ago who their favorite Hornet is. Gordon didn’t get a single mention except as a joke. He’s solid in the first half of games, but he’s playing terribly in the second half. Why? Again that’s something we talked about yesterday on Hornets Beat. He’s a max player, with a PER under 15, shooting less than 40% from the floor.
The reality is that Gordon’s failed to heal completely, failed to close out games, failed to score efficiently, and failed to do anything positive other than score. If the Hornets can get anything decent for him in a trade I think he’s a goner this summer.